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Haunting the Chapel

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  • 1984, when Slayer’s second studio recording (and their first and only ever EP) was released, was kind of a transitional phase/album for this four piece. “Haunting the Chapel” finds Slayer giving up the traditional rock-based song structures in favor of a different style, which would come to be known as thrash-metal’s “signature sound.” Therefore this disc is more important than some give it credit for, even though it’s only seventeen minutes. Plus, “Haunting the Chapel” shows signs of the band’s greatness. Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman set their fret-boards on fire with blistering riffs and scorching solos. Add some deft drumming by Dave and Tom’s eerie vocals and you have an album which is a precursor to Slayer’s 1986 classic “Reign In Blood.” The lead-off song, “Chemical Warfare,” is, to this day, a staple of Slayer’s live shows, because it’s an ultra-fast chugger with great riffs. “Captor of Sin” is a rocket-propelled scorcher, and the title track has more blistering, dual guitar shredding and an elongated solo (which is over a minute long). Lastly, “Aggressive Perfector” was not on the original release of this album–it was taken from the “Metal Massacre Vol. 3″ compilation. This is doubtlessly the most rhythmic and mid-tempo cut of the bunch, and it includes back-to back-to back guitar solos. Even though “Haunting the Chapel” is weighed down a little because it’s vastly under-produced, it’s still a very good listen if you enjoy thrash, an essential buy for serious Slayer fans, and an important stepping-stone in Slayer’s evolution.

    Posted on January 3, 2010